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Nationals to pay full stipend

WASHINGTON — The Nationals changed course and told their minor leaguers on Monday they will receive their full weekly stipends of $400 at least through June after Washington reliever Sean Doolittle tweeted that the team’s major league players would cover a planned cut in those payments. Doolittle wrote on Twitter that Nationals major leaguers held a video conference call after The Athletic reported Sunday the club would be releasing more than two dozen minor league players and reducing stipends for players in the minors from $400 to $300 per week. A text message sent by the Nationals to players in the minors and forwarded Monday to The Associated Press reads: “Upon further internal discussion, you will receive your full stipend of $400 per week through the month of June. We will consider future payments on a month to month basis. Thank you!” It’s not unusual for big league teams to release minor leaguers at this time of year, although not normally this many. More than 400 young players have been cut with the minor league season in doubt amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

LSU to play Grambling, Southern

BATON ROUGE, La. — Defending national champion LSU has for the first time scheduled football games with Southern and Grambling State, LSU athletic director Scott Woodward announced on Monday. Both games involving the historically black Louisiana schools will be played in LSU’s Tiger Stadium, with Southern visiting on Sept. 10, 2022 and Grambling visiting on Sept. 9, 2023. LSU first started playing football in 1894, while Southern football dates back to 1916 and Grambling to 1928. The main campuses for Southern and LSU are both in Baton Rouge, about 10 miles apart. Grambling, a program made famous by the late coach Eddie Robinson, is north Louisiana. Grambling and Southern, who are fierce rivals, are rich in tradition and have been among the most dominant programs in the history of the Southwestern Athletic Conference — an FCS-level league comprised of historically black colleges and universities. Grambling has won 26 SWAC titles and 15 black college football national championships. Southern has won the SWAC 19 times and claimed 11 black college football national titles.

Clemson WR out for the year

Clemson receiver Justyn Ross, considered a first-round NFL draft pick next spring, will miss the upcoming college season due to a spinal condition uncovered after he was hurt at practice in March. Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said Ross will have surgery on Friday because of a congenital fusion of vertebrae he has had since birth. Ross also has a bulging disc. The condition was found after Ross apparently hurt his shoulder during a spring practice session before workouts were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ross is a 6-foot-4, 205-pound sophomore from Phenix City, Alabama, who led the Tigers with 66 catches a year ago.

Hall of Fame boxer Cooke dies

DALLAS — Curtis Cokes, the Hall of Fame welterweight who became Dallas’ first world champion in 1966, has died. He was 82. Erwin “Sparky” Sparks, Cokes’ partner at the Home of Champions gym, told The Dallas Morning News that Cokes died Friday after a week in hospice. Cokes took the World Boxing Association welterweight title in 1966 belt with a unanimous decision over Manny Gonzalez in New Orleans and added the World Boxing Council crown three months later with a unanimous decision over Jean Josselin at Dallas’ Memorial Auditorium. Cokes lost the titles to Jose Napoles in 1969 at the Forum outside Los Angeles, and dropped a rematch soon after in Mexico City. Inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2003, the 5-foot-8 Cokes fought 80 times from 1958 to 1972, finishing 62-14-4 with 30 knockouts. He later trained fighters at his gym.

Broadcaster used image of Hitler

SYDNEY — A sports broadcaster has apologized for using an image of Adolf Hitler while showing highlights of a National Rugby League game on Sunday. Fox Sports Australia issued an apology, saying it was concerned about a digitally manipulated image shown during the Sunday Night with Matty Johns program. A superimposed black-and-white image of Hitler came on during a segment that focused on the cardboard cutouts that are being used on some seats in stadiums. No spectators are allowed to attend NRL matches. There was no image of Hitler at the stadium during the game. Johns said he called the New South Wales state Jewish Board of Deputies to apologize and planned to apologize on the air during his next TV program on Thursday. “The segment … was in poor taste and completely inappropriate,” Johns, a former top-flight player, said in a statement. “I acknowledge it was wrong and I apologize to our viewers and to everyone in the community who is rightly concerned and offended by the segment.”

Former Auburn coach Dye dies

College Football Hall of Famer Pat Dye, who took over a downtrodden Auburn football program in 1981 and turned it into a Southeastern Conference power, died Monday. He was 80. Lee County Coroner Bill Harris said Dye died at a hospice care facility in Auburn from complications of kidney and liver failure. Harris said Dye tested positive for COVID-19 after being admitted to the hospital for renal problems, but was asymptomatic. When Dye came to Auburn, he inherited a program that was deeply divided after only three winning seasons in the previous six years. In 12 years, he had a 99-39-4 record, Auburn won or shared four conference titles and the Tigers were ranked in The Associated Press’ Top 10 five times. Dye’s overall coaching record was 153-62-5 in 17 years at Auburn, Wyoming and East Carolina. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005. “On behalf of our family, I want to thank all of the people from around the country who have offered their support and admiration for dad these past several days,” said Dye’s son, Pat Dye Jr. “Dad would be honored and humbled to know about this overwhelming outreach. The world has lost a pretty good football coach and a great man. He was beloved, he touched so many lives and he will be missed by many, especially our family.” Dye’s coaching career ended in November 1992 when he was forced to resign after a pay-for-play scandal rocked the Auburn program, which was placed on two years’ probation. Dye served as athletic director as well as coach for most of his career with Auburn. He remained associated with the university after his resignation and was a frequent commentator on football talk-radio shows.

Soccer players facing sanctions

BERLIN — The German soccer federation has defended its decision to assess whether four young Bundesliga players who made gestures in solidarity with George Floyd over the weekend must face sanctions. The DFB also said on Monday that Jadon Sancho’s booking for removing his jersey to reveal a T-shirt with the demand “Justice for George Floyd” had nothing to do with the message — rather, the yellow card was issued because the 20-year-old England forward broke a rule that says players who celebrate goals by taking off their jerseys or lifting them over their heads must be booked for “unsporting behavior.” Borussia Dortmund teammate Achraf Hakimi, 21, who displayed the same message after scoring was not booked because he did not lift his jersey over his head. The DFB control committee is looking into their gestures and those made by Schalke’s 21-year-old American midfielder Weston McKennie and Borussia Monchengladbach’s 22-year-old French forward Marcus Thuram to see if the four players broke laws that prohibit players from displaying “political, religious or personal slogans.” McKennie was the first to make a statement when he wore an armband with the handwritten message “Justice for George” around his left arm on Saturday. Thuram on Sunday took a knee after scoring in Borussia Monchengladbach’s win over Union Berlin. Sancho and Hakimi followed suit later Sunday.

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